Most believe that by continuously linking in, you’ll decrease bounce rates, increase the average amount of time a visitor spends on your site, and increase traffic. While at the surface this may be true, I believe that linking out is twice as good as linking in and here are my 9 reasons why.
Expanding Knowledge – Linking out provides a means for your audience to expand their wealth of knowledge by picking up websites they may not have known about before. This aids in reading content from multiple perspectives. Also, providing links related to whatever niche you are writing about will show readers that you’re an expert in the field and keep up with the latest and greatest for that particular niche. Consider this perceived expertise.
Networking – Linking out when publishing an article generally initiates what are known as Pingbacks or Trackbacks. These little notifications inform a blog owner that someone has linked to one of their articles. I can tell you based on experience that I’ve personally discovered some great sites by checking out my trackback/pingback notifications and it’s also proven to be a great opportunity to network with other blog owners.
Unselfish Feeling – It’s very easy to continuously link in to other articles you have produced on your site but if you do it too much, your readers might think your selfish and have no desire for any one else’s opinions. Linking out takes care of this before it becomes a problem.
Backlinks – This one is based off of the Networking tip I described earlier. If the blog owner approves of your pingback/trackback url to be published, that is one more backlink you have for your blog. Plus, it lets other blog owners know that your site exists which may mean future backlinks.
The Beginning Of Conversations – For those that like to take bits and pieces of other blog posts and formulate opinions or provide their own insight into, linking out to those articles provides your audience a chance to read into the content that ignited your spark. This can sometimes initiate conversations which go into a totally different direction.
Build An Audience – If you continuously link out to great content that your audience finds useful, they will keep coming back for more and will most likely tell their friends. The key is to link out to great, resourceful material on a consistent basis. People love it when their desired subject matter has been filtered out so that only the most interesting or useful content appears before them.
Way To Generate Content – There are only 24 hours in a day and not enough time in life to write about everything you find interesting that comes across your feedreader. Instead of bookmarking it, create a speedlink post which contains numerous links that are of interest to you AND your readers. The post serves as an archive for those links so you can go back to them whenever you need to.
Backup Your Claims – While it is easy to state nonfactual claims all day long, you’re only doing your readers a disservice (and most likely yourself). Instead, back up your claims by linking out to third party sites who agree with your line of thought or who have produced the research that supports your statements.
The SEO Perspective – I’m no SEO expert, but I’ve seen this one debated across the web. The results of a linking out experiment to determine SEO benefits appear different depending on who did the experiment. As a rule of thumb, who cares if you link to your competitor just as long as it benefits your audience. By the way, there are certain cases in which linking to your competitor is seen as a classy move. Be open to those opportunities.
To sum things up, don’t be afraid to link out, even if you feel the site is a competitor. Linking in general is a natural behaviour on the web and there is no reason why you should keep your audience within a walled garden. Link out, build relationships, get to know people and then realize that linking out is one of the best things about blogging. That next link out could be a blessing in disguise.
strong>If you know of any other reason as to why you should link out, share it in the comments.